Es ist landläufig bekannt, dass John Barrowman gern glitzernde Gürtelschnallen trägt. Aber er ist natürlich auch ein ganzer Kerl! Hier der Beweis: Celebrity Drive: "Doctor Who" and "Torchwood" BBC Star John Barrowman
Devotion to Cars Runs Deep For Scottish Actor, Author, and TV Host
July 10, 2009
By K.S. Wang
Quick Stats: John Barrowman, actor and host
Daily Driver: 1982 Mercedes-Benz 380SL (John's rating: 8 on a scale of 1 to 10)
Other cars: Toyota Prius to Renault Avantime (see below)
Favorite road trip: Illinois to California
Car he learned to drive in: 1978 Chevrolet Caprice classic station wagon
First car bought: 1989 Ford Escort XR3i
Although he speaks with an American accent, John Barrowman is one of the most popular actors in England these days. His character Capt. Jack on the wildly popular "Doctor Who" prompted its own spin-off, "Torchwood," which has become BBC America's highest-rated show.
He doesn't seem to mind the "Tom Cruise look-alike" references by British media. That's probably because Barrowman's career has been coming up roses after his big break in "Anything Goes" in London. He's since added TV hosting, albums, and an autobiography to his repertoire. The book was such a bestseller, he wrote a follow-up that will be out in October, with a chapter devoted to his cars.
Barrowman's love of cars runs deep -- he hails from a family of enthusiasts. On the phone from his London home, he is upbeat and gives the impression that while he revels in the fact he can buy any supercar on a whim, he feels truly blessed to be able to fund this passion.
John Barrowman Celeb Drive 1982 Mercedes Benz 380SL
Barrowman's daily driver is a peppermint green 1982 Mercedes 380SL, which he rates an 8. "The 380SL for me is what I call the summer car -- the top is always down, the roof is always off," says Barrowman, who normally speaks with an American accent, except when he switches to a Scottish one when speaking to his folks. "It's one of those cars you have to drive because if it sits around, it starts to get problems. It's a car that's great on the motorway; it's great to drive around country lanes in the U.K. in it."
Barrowman bought the venerable roadster because he grew up watching "Dallas" and many of his car references are from TV and movies. "Bobby and Pamela Ewing drove a red one and I always wanted one of those as a kid," he says, adding he collected Matchbox cars back then. "I still have all my Matchbox cars. I wanted to grow up and have a car collection. A real one. That was my dream."
Part of that dream was a DeLorean, which he recently sold. "I never drove it. It sat in the garage. If I'm going to buy a car, even if it's a vintage car or classic, I don't want to just sit and look at it. I want to drive it. The DeLorean was just one of those cars that was a 10 to look at, but it was a 4 to drive," Barrowman says with a chuckle.
Although he's not afraid to put miles on each car, Barrowman does treat them with care, almost like museum pieces. He lives in London with his partner, Scott, but they also have a beach home in Cardiff, where the garage has a wall of glass to showcase the collection. "If I have guests and we have drinks, I can turn the lights on, so it's like a little mini showroom," he says, buoyantly.
Barrowman named his 380SL after the Wicked Witch of the West, because she's green. "I always joke about this -- people have this stereotype about gay men and I break every stereotype, because I like cars, I like machinery," he says. "Now I do name my cars. She's called Elphaba and she's absolutely stunning."
He bought the 380SL a couple years ago, after a successful run in a pantomime (a traditional Christmas show in the U.K., held in Birmingham). "I always believe in treating yourself. I'm just fortunate enough I can treat myself to a car. And that's what I do. After a job, I buy myself a car."
Barrowman is always working. That means there's always a new car to contemplate. His loves of cars is evident in "Torchwood," where his own cars have been featured.
"I've got a choice at the moment, because I've just finished my U.K. concert tour for my album, I'm going to treat myself again," he declares. "I'm looking at a Maserati Ghibli or TVR Cerbera and it's a 4.5 liter engine, a V8 engine in it."
But the choices abound. "There's a Fiat 500 which has been built and numbered by Ferrari It was built by Ferrari, so it's a limited edition, there were 200 of them built for the U.K."
Barrowman often elicits the help of his driver to check out a new prospect. "I buy a lot of my cars on eBay. I send him off to look at them before we buy them so they don't know it's me," he laughs. "I can't walk down the street without being recognize. But I love it. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love it."
After much thought, Barrowman's next treat to himself will probably be another Mercedes, the new luxurious E-Class sedan. "I went yesterday and I think I'm going to order the new E-Class Mercedes Sport, which they just released here, which is a beast. It's brand-new out here. It's stunning."
The only cars Barrowman keeps in London are his 2008 Toyota Prius and 2006 Mercedes-Benz ML320, for practical reasons.Barrowman's cars2008 Toyota Prius
- Rating: 9
"The engine sometimes sounds like a hair dryer, but it prevents us being charged for congestion charges and higher road taxing in central London. That's the purpose of the Prius, to do something for the environment. I figure since I've got so many other cars," he laughs exuberantly. "It's nice to be able to say I bought a hybrid to get around the congestion charge."2006 Mercedes-Benz ML320
- Rating: 10
"I'd rate that a 10 because like the Range Rover, it's a way to travel in comfort, style and to know that you're going to get there in one piece," Barrowman says.2006 Range Rover Autobiography
- Rating: 10
"It's like driving a beast with the fat tires and the aggressive stance that you feel have on the road, it gets you there in comfort, style and safely," he says. It is also used for long distances and Barrowman also gets driven around in it for work.2003 Renault Avantime
- Rating: 9
"When I sold the DeLorean, I bought the Avantime," he says. He bought the Avantime after completing another successful pantomine in the U.K. "On the way home one night, I was on the computer in the car while I was being driven home. I found this Avantime online and we passed the exit where the dealership was. I had my driver pull off and I just went in and bought it. There's only about 800 of them made. It's like driving a space car."
Barrowman also thinks of it as a quirky car that has "a funny back end on it." He says, "I'd have to rate that at as a 9 because it was a car before its time. It was built as a concept car really, but people didn't catch on to it. There's no pillars in this car, you can press a button - the roof and all the windows go down and it's open."
The Avantime is a recent purchase and he's only driven it a few times. "It was one of the first cars to have dual climate control, it had xenon headlights before they were put in any other vehicles, it's got the built-in six-CD changer, all the advanced stuff that wasn't available in a lot of cars at that time," he says. "I feel like George Jetson in it."2008 Volvo C70 Convertible
- Rating: 8
"It's a car that when the sun is shining, like today, it's bright sunshine, I put the hard top down, drove to the grocery store with my sunglasses on and my hair blowing in the wind. Not that I have any hair on my head because I've got really short hair," he laughs. "I like that car because it reminds me of a Transformer."2004 Ford Escape
- Rating: 8
When asked if he bought the Escape to support the U.S. economy, since a large part of his childhood was spent in the Midwest (and he can afford any supercar), he says he just really liked the Escape, which is what he calls his "workhorse." "I think Ford's a good car, I have stock in Ford and ironically I had stock in General Motors," he says. "I think Ford is a car that anybody can go out and buy, it's reliable, it's inexpensive to run, they're just good, well-built American cars. Over here we call them the Ford Maverick."
He gives it an 8 for reliability. "It does the job it's supposed to do, it hauls things. When I bought my DeLorean, we towed it from Northern Ireland all the way down to Cardiff, Wales. Which is a long way. That's across the Irish channel."Car he learned to drive in
Barrowman was born in Scotland, and his family moved to Aurora, Illinois, when he was 8. They moved to Joliet when he was 14 and that's where he learned to drive in an automatic 1978 Chevrolet Caprice classic station wagon his freshman year. "My father was an executive for Caterpillar in the U.S. and he used to take us, when we were old enough, to the parking lot of the facility and set up an obstacle course."
When Barrowman was old enough, it was important to be able to drive on highways such as I-55. "One of the things my dad did when we were younger, to make us good drivers, he took us into the city and to downtown Chicago. We went right to point A and back home. That's one of the best things you can do." He later took his driver's test with a manual tranny, to prove he could do it, and passed.First car bought
Barrowman's dad bought all three of his children cars when they turned 16, so his high school car was a 1983 Volkswagen Scirocco. "It was a red and I loved that car. My family, we loved our cars. Every Saturday living in Joliet, we had a circle driveway and would put all the cars in the front and we'd all wash our own cars. Then leave them there in the afternoon to have like a little car show," he laughs.
Barrowman moved back to the U.K. and got his big break on the West End in "Anything Goes" in 1989. He then bought his first automotive treat after completing a gig.
"The first car I bought myself was a 1989 Ford Escort XR3i, which was like what they call a boy racer car here in the U.K., which they didn't make in America," he points out. "The thing that gutted me then, was I was paying as much for that car in my head in dollar terms as I would for a BMW because of the exchange rate."
Since the Ford Escort, there's been a steady slew of eclectic cars, proof of a very busy career. "I've lived by the philosophy that every time I do a big job, I usually buy myself another car," he says.
While he can't go out of his home in London without being recognized, Barrowman has always maintained a healthy attitude about success. "As long as I was working and was able pay my bills and supply myself with what I wanted, I was successful, whether that was being paid $200 a week or $200,000."
Luckily, Barrowman's career continued its upward trajectory, so he could begin to collect cars in earnest. Shortly after the Escort, Barrowman bought his first extravagant car, a limited edition Jaguar XJS. "When I did 'Sunset Boulevard' for Andrew Lloyd Webber, I went to Jaguar and had them build me an Insignia Jaguar. I chose the color, the gear stick was molded to my hand, I picked out all the leather. I paid $50,000 pounds for that."Favorite road trip
A few years ago, Barrowman and his partner took what became their favorite road trip - retracing the ill-fated Donner party route from Illinois to California. "I had a green Chrysler Voyager minivan and we took all of our dogs, piled them in," he says. "We took the exact route they did. They traveled from the Midwest to try to get to California, but they got stuck in Tahoe. Where they got stuck, we went skiing."
"Torchwood: Children of Earth"
Car enthusiasts who just watch BBC America for their fill of "Top Gear" might enjoy seeing some of Barrowman's own cars showcased in "Torchwood," including a Porsche he used to own and his ML320.
"Being a guy who likes cars, the character I play, Capt. Jack, is a gadget fiend, so when they asked what kind of vehicle I wanted to have in 'Torchwood,' I said a Range Rover. We have this blacked-out customized Range Rover that Capt. Jack drives," he says. "We also have another fleet of cars, which ironically, in Torchwood series 3, which is about to air on BBC America, my Porsche Boxster was featured in it. My own character was driving my own Porsche Boxster."
"Torchwood: Children of Earth" will be a five-night television event on BBC America airing July 20 to July 24. If you miss it, catch the marathon on July 26 or get the DVD when it drops July 28. Sci-fi fans can catch Barrowman stateside as well. He will be part of a "Torchwood" panel at Comic-Con in San Diego July 26, along with writer/executive producer Russell T. Davies (also of "Doctor Who" fame). Other BBC America stars, including "Doctor Who" David Tennant, will also be at Comic-Con.
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